5 Reasons Your Boston Has Dry Skin & Dandruff + Solutions

Just like people, Boston Terriers can have dandruff. 

Dandruff is flaky pieces of dead skin. A small amount of occasional dandruff may be normal for dogs, but in excess, it might suggest that there is an underlying skin issue.

5 Reasons Your Boston Has Dry Skin & Dandruff + Solutions

For Bostons, dry skin and dandruff may get worse in the cold winter months or during times of excessive shedding.

In this article, we will review what could be causing dry skin and dandruff in your Boston Terrier and what to do about it.

Boston Terrier Dry Skin And Dandruff

Boston Terriers can get dry skin and dandruff for a variety of reasons ranging from a food allergy to hormonal imbalances. 

When in doubt, especially with a new symptom, it is always a good idea to visit your veterinarian to have your Boston examined. There could be an underlying disorder causing the dry skin and dandruff.

We will first review the causes of dry skin and dandruff in Bostons, and then we will cover what you should do if you notice these issues.

5 Reasons Your Boston Has Dry Skin & Dandruff + Solutions

What Causes Dry Skin And Dandruff In Boston Terriers? 5 Reasons

Here are a few of the most common causes of dandruff and dry skin in Bostons that I see as a veterinarian.

1. Allergies

One of the most common causes of dandruff and dry flaky skin in Bostons is allergies. Your Boston could have an allergy to an ingredient in their food, or they could be allergic to some type of pollen in the environment.

If your Boston has allergies, they will probably also be itchy. You may also notice them licking their paws frequently.

Does your Boston Terrier lick their paws excessively? Read why this is happening, 6 Reasons Why Your Boston Is Licking Their Paws.

2. Skin Infection

Bacterial or yeast skin infections can cause dry skin and dandruff in Bostons. Boston Terriers with yeast infections may have a greasy feel to their coat. 

For bacterial skin infections, you may notice small red bumps or pimples on your Boston’s belly.

3. External Parasites

Various parasitic organisms can cause dry and flaky skin in Bostons. 

Fleas are extremely common and can cause poor coat quality, itchiness, and dandruff. You can usually spot evidence of fleas around the back end of your Boston if you flip through the hair just in front of the tail. 

You may see the fleas crawling or the “flea poop” which looks like small black dirt.

Other external parasites can cause dandruff including lice and mites. Often, these parasites will cause your Boston to feel itchy.

4. Hormonal Imbalances

Certain hormonal imbalances can cause dry skin and dandruff. Boston’s with low thyroid levels, also known as hypothyroidism, can have skin issues. Hypothyroid Boston Terriers may also act tired and have unexplained weight gain.

Cushing’s disease in Boston Terriers can also cause hair thinning and dry, flaky skin. If your Boston has Cushing’s they will probably also drink a lot of water and pee excessively.

5 Reasons Your Boston Has Dry Skin & Dandruff + Solutions

5. Seasonal Shedding

If small amounts of dandruff and flaky skin are occurring only during seasonal shedding, this may be normal for your Boston. 

Many times, my dog starts to get dandruff around the shedding season, but it goes away after the shedding ends. 

This may just be a normal part of the shedding cycle.

Treating Boston Terrier Dry Skin And Dandruff – 3 Possible Solutions

The first step to addressing dandruff and dry skin in your Boston is to speak with your veterinarian. There are many potential causes for dry skin and dandruff, and only your vet will be able to diagnose the underlying cause of these symptoms.

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed the underlying cause of the dandruff, they will give your dog the appropriate treatments. 

Here are three things a veterinarian may recommend to help correct your Boston’s dry skin and dandruff.

5 Reasons Your Boston Has Dry Skin & Dandruff + Solutions

#1 Can Changing Your Boston’s Diet Help Correct Dry Skin?

It is possible that a diet change could help correct dry skin. If you are feeding your dog cheap, low-quality dog food, they may not be getting enough fatty acids and other nutrients in their diet. 

Giving your Boston a high-quality dog food that is rich in nutrients may help improve the quality of their coat. I recommend Hill’s Science Diet, Purina ProPlan, and Royal Canin diets. 

A good dog food to try if your Boston has sensitive skin is Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food.

Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription veterinary diet if they suspect your dog has a food allergy. If you think your pet is allergic to something in their food, speak with your vet about starting a prescription allergy diet.

Here are a few of my favorite prescription veterinary allergy diets:

#2 What Are Some Vet Recommended Shampoos To Help With Dry Skin?

If your dog has mild dry skin and dandruff, you could start by trying a soothing oatmeal shampoo and conditioner. 

I recommend bathing about once a week if your Boston is having dry skin and dandruff. These products are good for mild dandruff and dry skin:

Does Your Boston Terrier Have Allergies Or A Skin Infection? Try These Shampoos Instead.

If your Boston has allergies or a skin infection, your veterinarian may recommend a shampoo with antibacterial and antifungal ingredients. If a dog has a skin infection, I usually bathe them once to twice weekly with one of these shampoos. 

After lathering, I also allow the shampoo to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it off.

The products I use most often for dry skin and dandruff from skin infections include:

5 Reasons Your Boston Has Dry Skin & Dandruff + Solutions

#3 What Are Some Vet Recommended Products To Help With Dry Skin And Dandruff?

If your Boston is not good at taking baths, another option your veterinarian may recommend is trying a mousse. This topical product is a no-rinse formula that helps to moisturize the skin and contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients:

In addition to topical products, your veterinarian may recommend fatty acid supplementation to help with your Boston’s skin and coat quality. Fatty acids may help decrease itching associated with allergies in some dogs.

It is important to use dog-specific products from a trusted brand because some human products may not be the appropriate dose for your Boston or may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.

Here are a few fatty acids supplements to consider trying:

A Few Final Thoughts

Dry skin and dandruff in Boston Terriers can be caused by a variety of factors. Some Bostons with dry skin and dandruff have an underlying condition such as allergies or a skin infection. Sometimes a small amount of dandruff and dry skin can be normal during seasonal shedding.

The first step in addressing your Boston’s dry skin is visiting your veterinarian. They will be able to help you determine the underlying cause of dandruff and dry skin so you will know what treatments may be effective.

Some veterinarians may recommend topical products like shampoo or mousse. In addition, your vet may recommend a special diet or fatty acid supplementation.


  • Dog dandruff and dry skin. Royal Canin
  • What causes dog dandruff (and how do you get rid of it)? PetHonesty

Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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